Know When to Upgrade Your POS

Thinking about upgrading your POS or just want to refresh some equipment? Read our tips below to learn the tell-tale signs that you may need a new system.

1. Hardware Headaches

Frequent hardware malfunctions, such as monitors that won’t power on or receipt printers that won’t print, may indicate that your POS system is at risk of failure and should be replaced. And if a repair is possible, the cost of replacement parts and lost business will eventually exceed the price of upgrading the entire POS system.

2. Payments Rejected or Delayed

Recurring payment rejections or delays may signal that your POS processing system is outdated and in need of upgrade. Rejected or delayed transactions are indicators that your current system is not setup to receive specific types of payment. If the problem persists, contact your payment processor as soon as possible to ensure minimal lost business.

3. Lack of Support

Initiating and executing tailored loyalty programs and promotions, engaging with consumers based on detailed records of their purchases and preferences, offering online order fulfillment in-store, and adhering to an omni-channel business model are all vital if restaurateurs are to satisfy the customer experience. Any POS system that does not allow for these features should be upgraded as soon as possible.

4. Keeping Up with Data & Analytics

Savvy restaurant operators constantly strive to improve their business—but doing so is impossible without actionable data and analytics from the POS system. Unless your system allows you to view store and web-related data while also yielding a holistic view of customers, it will be impossible to implement the degree of change needed to effect the growth of your organization.

Contact one of our Solutions Consultants if you’re ready to upgrade today!

Restaurant Trends for 2020

Who is the next-generation customer and what are their expectations? 

Today’s diners are well-connected, tech savvy, and expect a high-quality restaurant customer experience—whether visiting a five-star sit down, fast-casual, or the drive-thru.

As a restaurant operator or owner, understanding where the bar is set is the first step toward capitalizing on the customer journey. Approaching 2020, restaurants need to make a conscious shift toward offering future-facing operations with the ability to meet the expectations of their customers.

Menu and Order Customization

According to a consumer study by Deloitte, the number one factor that influences consumers when selecting a restaurant is menu options and order customization.

Employing the right POS systems for your type of restaurant can attract loyal customers. Self-service kiosks for example, engage customers and make them part of their experience giving them freedom to easily customize their own orders. In doing so, the opportunity to fast upsell and cross promote increases with all the menu options at their fingertips. In QSR, when technology is used to place an order, reports show it increases the frequency of visits by 6% AND a 20% increase to the average spend per visit.

Excellent service in-house and out-of-house

Guest experience starts with service. Tablets or kiosks can be used for line-busting rather than keeping hungry guests waiting. Offering flexible payment, like pay-at-the-table options, keep guests involved and frees staff to care for other guests needing attention.

Guests want a quality experience, but quickly. Enhance the speed of service with POS technology. Integrate your POS with mobile options so servers can accommodate guests right on the floor, adding on a dessert or ordering another drink from the bar when they ask for it. A KDS streamlines communication between front and back of house to ensure timely and accurate order prep.

Service isn’t limited to inside the restaurant, guests choosing your restaurant for takeout expect their experience to be seamless. Online and mobile ordering adds value and convenience to the customer journey— 40% of customers prefer to order online for quick pickup and delivery. When given this option, the average spend also increases by 26% in QSR and 13% in casual and fast-casual restaurants.

Loyalty Perks

Customers in 2020 are all about perks—87% of survey respondents belong to fewer than 3 loyalty programs each. If your goal is to attract new customers and turn them into returning customers, offer a loyalty program stuffed with rewards. Diners that can earn a discount (51%) or reward (44%) are more likely to choose that restaurant over another in order to continue earning.

Customers love the points but don’t want to keep track of them. Paper punch cards are in the past—our tech-savvy diners are demanding restaurant apps with features to track their loyalty points.


When it comes to payment, 53% drive-thru, 54% take-out, and 50% in-restaurant customers say flexible options are important to them. The ability to split checks efficiently and accurately makes taking care of the bill easy.

With so many applications to access our money, next-gen customers want the option to pay by phone—48% of drive-through, 46% take-out, and 31% in-restaurant—and of those, 50% say they want to be able to do so using the restaurant app.

Creating a satisfying customer journey is painless when equipped with the right tools for the job. The restaurant specific technology makes for smooth management and paves the way to a successful customer experience.

Featured Customer: Mama’s

Mama’s Comfort Food & Cocktails, Newport Beach

Mama’s on 39, a nostalgic multi-unit eatery serving comfort food classics in Huntington Beach, joined the Focus Family in September 2017. They wanted a restaurant point-of-sale system that could help them provide excellent customer service alongside a taste of home to their local community.

Focus CA equipped their restaurant with responsive POS workstations designed to keep up with the ever changing conditions of a busy kitchen. This in conjunction with quick processing kitchen video systems power Mama’s with the robust technology they need to serve their customers productively and efficiently.

Since Mama’s first went live in 2017, they’ve gone on to open two more locations in Orange County: Los Alamitos in 2018 and Newport Beach at the beginning of 2019, both powered by Focus CA point of sale.

“Mama’s kitchen was always the one spot in our home where we gathered to enjoy each other and our Mama’s amazing cooking. We cherished the sweet aroma of homemade biscuits baking in the oven, the sounds of sizzling bacon and farm fresh eggs crackling on the stovetop. The refreshing lemonade and Mama’s secret recipes for anything and everything good kept us so comfy. Mama always knew how to make everything alright, regardless of the world around us. We love Mama so much, we want to share her with all of you!” — Mama’s on 39

“We started with Focus a few years ago. We were looking for a POS company that would work with us in growing our business and our technology. Juan at Focus has been a great partner and we will be installing Focus at all of our future locations” – Robert Corrigan, Partner at Mama’s on 39 & Mama’s Comfort Food & Cocktails⁠

Find a Mama’s near you here.

Tablet Point of Sale

Tablet point of sale software takes traditional point of sale to the next level, giving you the capabilities to enhance the customer experience and streamline your operations. Your staff can take orders and process payments from anywhere in the restaurant, thereby improving sales and customer satisfaction. 

Overall Benefits of Tablet POS Technology

Tablet POS software provide great advantages for restaurants and foodservice establishments:


Tablets offer greater flexibility of use than regular POS terminals. They can be mounted on a stationary unit that is either monitored by a cashier or used as a self-service kiosk, or used by staff to take orders and process payments on-the-go. They can also be placed on tables for self-ordering and serve as advertising space to promote menu items and specials.

Increased Efficiency, Accuracy, and Sales

Orders placed on tablets are transmitted directly to the kitchen, resulting in faster prep times and reduced service errors. Fewer errors will eliminate the costs of food and time wasted on wrong orders, while providing a more comfortable dining experience for your customers. Sales can increase through consistent up-selling prompts, and customers are more likely to dine again with efficient service.

Line Busting

Tablet POS reduces long wait times by allowing your staff to move through the lines taking orders and increasing customer through-put. A self-service tablet kiosk will have the same effect.

Ergonomic Advantage

Traditional POS terminals can be large and clunky, taking up more counter space than you may be able to spare — especially in a smaller restaurant. Tablets are smaller and lighter, providing a better option for tight spaces.

How Mobile POS is Changing the Restaurant Industry

Server Benefits

  • Less running: When servers don’t have to run orders back to the kitchen, or run credit cards back and forth to a central terminal for processing, they save a lot of steps and time that can be better spent interacting with customers
  • More table turns: Faster ordering and payment processes lead to more table turns per shift and tip opportunities. Table-side technology can increase turnover time by 7 to 10 minutes

Customer Benefits

  • Fewer service errors: Especially with self-ordering, customers can be sure they’ll get exactly what they ordered, prepared to their specifications
  • Greater data security: When customers can pay at the table, their credit or debit cards stay under their control, eliminating the risk of card skimming or identity theft
  • Shorter wait times: Faster table turnovers lead to shorter wait times for incoming customers. The sooner a hungry diner can be seated and start ordering, the happier they’ll be with the experience

House Benefits

  • Higher profits: Larger ticket sizes, more customers served, more satisfied customers retained, less paper and food waste, and more efficient labor use all add up to greater profits
  • Fast ROI: Tablets and table-side devices often have a lower initial investment cost than traditional POS. Coupled with the revenue generation and cost savings that will follow, return on that investment won’t take long.

Restaurants need every technology advantage to stay ahead in a highly competitive environment and provide customers with the efficiency and convenience they expect.

If you’re ready to add tablet point of sale software to your arsenal, contact one of our Solutions Consultants to get started today.

Using Loyalty Marketing to Grow Your Brand and Improve Guest Retention

Engaging existing customers who already have prior knowledge and experience with your brand is not only cheaper, but also easier.

According to the book Marketing Metrics, the probability of companies selling to an existing customer is 60 – 70%. On the other hand, the probability of selling to a new customer is 5 – 20%.

Loyalty marketing focuses on bringing back and retaining existing customers with rewards and incentives—which is better for your business. Read on to learn how to use loyalty marketing to grow your brand:

1.) Collect customer feedback and send timely e-blasts about targeted promotions, events, and coupons relevant to their interests.

2.) Offer point-based reward plans and incentivize customers to build their balance by purchasing select menu items.

3.) Grant bonus discounts to give your customers immediate satisfaction.

The Focus Loyalty program gives your restaurant a competitive edge by building a system of incentives and rewards so you can win new customers and inspire them to become regulars.

Contact one of our Solutions Consultants today to learn more about Focus Loyalty.

All About EMV

What is EMV?

EMV is the term for the new worldwide way of transacting, processing, securing, and handling credit card data. As of October 2015, merchants (including restaurants) are encouraged to move to accepting credit cards using EMV.

Am I legally required to accept credit cards using EMV?

No, there is currently no law stating that you need to process via EMV. However, you may receive severe chargebacks from customers and their banks if you are not accepting their credit card via EMV methods.

What are chargebacks?

As of October 2015, you (the merchant) are liable for any fraudulent transactions ran at your restaurant if that transaction is not processed using EMV.

Example: An individual eats at your restaurant and uses a stolen credit card with a chip to pay for their $40 check, but you did not run their credit card using a chip reader (EMV). The true owner of that credit card will see that charge on their bank statement and report it to their bank as fraud. In the past, the bank would be responsible for that charge. However, as of October 2015, the merchant must shoulder the cost and that $40 chargeback will be taken out of the restaurant’s bank account.

Do I need to order my EMV Payment Terminal from Focus CA?

Yes. Since the Focus system relies on our Focus Pay software suite, you must order Focus-compatible EMV Payment Terminals. The terminals are preloaded with the correct configuration packages to work seamlessly with your current Focus POS system.

Here is a list of Focus-compatible EMV Payment Terminals. Please contact one of our Solutions Consultants to get started.

Creating a Seamless Omnichannel Experience

An omnichannel operation means that you provide a seamless customer experience across all channels, be it online, a physical store, or by phone.

While omnichannel strategy was traditionally specific to the retail environment, restaurant owners are beginning to recognize its value in the hospitality sector as well. In an era of constant connectivity, providing positive customer experiences both online and offline is critical.

Here are three ways omnichannel affects restaurants:

Ordering Convenience

Customers expect the ultimate in ordering convenience. In world that values convenience and speed above all, customers will always go for the most convenient option. Make yourself visible and easy to do business with by leveraging an online ordering solution. Far more customers also use mobile phones to look up restaurant information and place orders, so a mobile ordering solution is necessary.

Loyalty and Rewards

Customers want to be rewarded for continuing to choose you over the competition, and they want those rewards to be based on their existing preferences. Personalized promotions are much more effective because they recommend items that customers already want. It’s a win/win—you benefit from increased sales, and they benefit from discounted rates on items they were already interested in.

Harvard conducted a study which revealed that increasing repeat business by just 5% can increase profits anywhere between 25% and 125%. Omnichannel loyalty and rewards programs are must-have features to retain customers and drive revenue.

Consistent Branding

Not only are you expected to offer online and mobile ordering options, but consistent branding should be carried through all platforms. Your online ordering and mobile apps should match the branding of your website, and should tie in with the overall theme of your restaurant.

Consistent branding across channels boosts brand recognition and elevates your image. It also helps increase customer satisfaction by providing a seamless customer experience throughout all of your channels.

Theory vs. Practice

An omnichannel restaurant strategy sounds like an easy way to stay competitive, boost profits, and retain customers, and it is—if you have the right technology in place. Operating a successful omnichannel restaurant requires solutions that integrate seamlessly with your POS. Disparate systems that can’t communicate with one another can prevent you from reaching the consistency needed to execute your omnichannel restaurant strategy.

Focus CA offers a wide range of restaurant solutions that easily integrate with your POS and allow you to operate a successful omnichannel business. For more information, contact one of our Solutions Consultants today.

How to Create an Effective Loyalty Program

Brand awareness and customer loyalty are the byproducts of a successful rewards program. Consumers want to feel a sense of personal connection with their favorite businesses, and loyalty programs foster this relationship. Here are some tips for creating the most effective loyalty and rewards programs for your restaurant:

1. Be aware of loyalty reducers.

Before you can give customers what they want, you need to know what they don’t want. Avoiding these pitfalls will help increase the number of program members that remain active after signing up.

  • Takes too long to accumulate points or earn rewards
  • Program sends too many communications, or irrelevant communications
  • Program does not offer rewards the customer is interested in

2. Know the types of loyalty and rewards programs customers prefer.

Points and discounts are the most popular reward types. Points can be earned based on dollars spent, number of visits, purchase of specific items, or for engaging in other related activities such as signing up or referring friends. Don’t be afraid to think beyond points and discounts to create other types of perks for members.

Some examples might be:

  • Free delivery
  • Members-only specials or perks
  • Invitations to exclusive events such as a tasting party for new menu items

3. Ensure you’ve checked off these success factors.

  • It’s easy to use
  • It’s easy to understand
  • It gives great discounts

Earning and redeeming points should be as convenient as possible. Redemption can be integrated into the checkout process, where it can help reduce cart abandonment and increase average order value. Providing a mobile app or website feature that allows members to check their point balances easily can also encourage them to keep progressing to the next goal.

4. Build a community around your program.

Engage with your loyalty and rewards program members on a variety of platforms. Use social media to strengthen your connections with them and give them ways to earn points other than sales transactions. Give points for sharing your Facebook posts, following your page, posting their own photos and stories about their experience with your restaurant, or writing reviews. Let your loyal customers be brand ambassadors by giving them points for referring their friends.

Finally, your loyalty and rewards program will work best when it is integrated with your POS system. Contact us for more information on integrating Focus Gift & Loyalty.

Featured Customer: Dog Haus

A combination of nostalgia, creativity, and commitment to community brought Dog Haus founders to open their first craft casual location in Pasadena, CA in 2010. Dog Haus whips up classic childhood favorites with a modernized flavor twist, featuring their signature Haus Dogs and Sausages on grilled Hawaiian rolls.

Their company vision seeks to provide a welcoming environment that encourages customers to enjoy the laid-back atmosphere and share a unique dining experience.


Dog Haus Founders – Hagop Giragossian, Andre Vener, Quasim Riaz

Dog Haus joined the Focus Family in 2013, with a goal of integrating excellent customer service with their uncompromisingly fresh, quality food and an energetic and fun environment. Operating with a fast service workflow, they wanted to adopt a point of sale solution that offers quick order entry and easy-to-navigate menu canvasses. With capacitive touch screens and streamlined menu design, Focus grants Dog Haus locations nationwide the continuous ability to service their customers quickly and with a smile.

Together with Focus, Dog Haus has successfully established a cult following with fast-growing franchises across the U.S. Some notable locations that trust Focus include Dog Haus North Hollywood, San Diego, Las Vegas, Scottsdale, and many more!

Dog Haus’ commitment to creating an enjoyable dining experience, teamwork, and community is powered by our unending desire to provide meaningful customer service and employee satisfaction. Next time you’re in the mood for a classic dog with an elevated flavor, visit your nearest Dog Haus location!

Benefits of Mobile POS

No More Long Lines

Long lines can cause lost business and a tainted brand image as a result of negative word of mouth. Customers may become agitated and eventually leave without buying anything. With Focus CA mobile devices, staff members can input information into the system while customers are waiting in line. This allows for a speedy checkout and better overall customer experience.

Email Receipts

Focus mobile POS offers customers the option to have their receipts emailed to them. This makes your business more accommodating and the Earth a little bit greener.

Collect Email Information

Mobile POS devices make it easy to collect valuable information from your customers. Email addresses allow you to follow up with your customers and ensure they are satisfied with their product, and hopefully secure their business in the future.

Reduce Errors

Having portable devices that your staff can carry on the go decreases the likelihood of service errors. Since they can send orders straight to the kitchen, there is a lower chance your employees will forget orders.


FocusPay, powered by Shift4 Payments, offers portable pay at the table handheld devices so you can service your customers with ease and flexibility. Learn more here.